Research CommentariesSignal Transduction

Calcium Signaling: Up, Down, Up, Down.... What's the Point?

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Science  09 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5348, pp. 191-192
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5348.191

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Many cells respond to external signals by generating pulses of the calcium ion in their cytoplasm, which somehow tells other cellular components to turn on or off. In his commentary, Putney poses this decoding problem and explains how a report by De Koninck and Schulman in this issue shows that one of calcium's main targets, the enzyme calcium-calmodulin, has intrinsic properties that allow it to translate the pulses into useful information for the cell.